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On occasion, the United States Mint samples new designs on the coins. These “Pattern” coins allowed us to see how the coins would look to test for any problems in producing the coins. It important that we designate these coins properly.
A distinguishing characteristic of a sovereign nation is the right to issue its own coins. America started producing Pattern Coins in 1792. In 1793 they began issuing copper coins. In 1794 they began issuing silver coins. In 1795 they began issuing gold coins. These are known as Colonial Coins.
Half-Cents and Cents
Copper half cents and cents were the first coins produced at the Mint in 1793. The Large Cent was replaced by the Small Cent with which we are familiar today. The Flying Eagle was the first design that ran from 1856 to 1858 before being replaced with the Indian Head cent. In 1909, the Lincoln cent was created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. The cent still remains one of the most popular and widely collected of all American coins.
Liberty Cap Half Cent
The Half Cents were intermittently produced between 1793 and 1857. The Liberty Cap Half Cent came in two different versions, the Head Left issued in 1793 only and the Head Right issued from 1794 to 1797.
Draped Bust Half Cent
The Draped Bust design first appeared on large cents in 1796. The 1802, the first overdate of any half cent, is the rarest date. The 1804 Spiked Chin was caused when a foreign object was impressed into the obverse die, creating a spear-like projection from Liberty’s chin. 1804 half cents are also found with either a Plain 4 no crosslet or a Crosslet 4, and with or without stems on the reverse. 1805 and 1806 half cents are found in some combination of Small and Large final digits in the date and/or with or without stems. The 1808/7 is the other overdate of this type.
Classic Head Half Cent
1809 Half cents has bust of Liberty facing left and a wreath on the reverse. The key dates of this type are 1831 and 1836. 1809 half cents include interesting varieties such as 9 over inverted 9. The year 1811 features Wide and Close dates, plus an unofficial restrike that combines an obverse of 1811 with a reverse from the Draped Bust type. In 1828, engravers forgot to add the correct number of stars to one obverse die, resulting in the “12 Stars” variety. Half cents from 1832 – 1835 are the common dates, especially the 1835, resulting from the discovery of a small hoard of Uncirculated examples. The first proof half cents were made in 1831 and restrikes were made later of both the 1831 and 1836 dates. The 1837 half cent is a token issued privately as part of the Hard Time Token series.
Braided Hair Half Cent
The Braided Hair half cents has some of the lowest mintages of any U.S. coin types. In 1857, the half cent denomination was officially abolished.
Flowing Hair Large Cent
The Flowing Hair large cent includes several different subtypes. First is the Chain cent, issued in 1793. The second design of 1793 is the Wreath cent. Next came the Liberty Cap design, which matched more closely the design on the half cent. The Jefferson Head varieties of 1795 were made outside of the U.S. Mint. In 1796, the Draped Bust type replaced the Liberty Cap design.
Draped Bust Cent
The Draped Bust large cent first appeared in 1796. In 1808, John Rech’s Classic Head design replaced the Draped Bust type.
Classic Head Cent
The Classic Head design minted in 1808 and was issued every year from 1808 – 1814. No large cents were struck in 1815 due to a fire at the Mint. In 1816, the Classic Head design was replaced with a new Liberty head design known as the Coronet head.
Coronet Head Cent
1816 is the first year of the Coronet large cent minted from 1816 to 1839. 1816 is a common date that is popular as the first year of issue. 1817 has an interesting variety with 15 stars on the obverse. The first overdate appears in 1819 (1819/8) along with Small and Large Date varieties. Like 1819, 1820 boasts an overdate and Small and Large Date varieties. 1821 is one of the rarer dates in the series. 1822 is common. 1823, a scarce date in all grades, features a normal date, an 1823/2 overdate. 1824 has an 1824/2 overdate plus normal dates. 1825 is a common date. In 1826, an 1826/5 overdate and normal dates can be found. In 1828, both Block and Script 8’s were used, creating distinct varieties. From 1829 to 1832, each year includes both Large and Medium letters on the reverse legends. 1834 and 1835 include Large and Small 8’s and Large and Small Stars in a number of combinations. In 1836, Liberty’s head was modified by making the tip of the coronet more pointed and the tip of the bust narrower and less rounded.
Braided Hair Cent
Braided Hair large cents started in 1839. No large cents were struck after 1857. They, and the half cents, simply became too expensive to produce any longer.
Flying Eagle Cent
Small Cents begin with the Flying Eagle Cents of 1856 to 1858.
Indian Head Cents replaced the Flying Eagle Cent in 1859. From 1859-1864 the cents were made of a mixture of copper and nickel. Key dates in for this coin include 1877, 1908-S, and 1909-S.
1909 the United States Mint was preparing a first: a regular-issue U.S. coin honoring an actual person. Defying a tradition that dated back to George Washington’s presidency, plans were made to honor the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth with a new cent featuring the president. The Lincoln cent is still the same obverse as of this date.
Two and Three Cents
The Two Cents is a denomination that first appeared in 1864, during a period of coin shortages caused by the Civil War. The obverse of the Two Cents denomination features a shield with a pair of arrows crossed behind, dangles of leaves and berries on both sides, a scroll with IN GOD WE TRUST above, and the date below. The reverse shows the denomination “2 CENTS” within a wreath, all surrounded by the legend United States of America. Two Cents were issued from 1864 to 1873 and mintages declined steadily each year.
The United States Three Cent piece is a denomination that first appeared in 1851. The original purpose of the Three Cents coins was to provide an intermediate denomination between the Cent and Half Dime.
In 1865 the Nickel Three Cent piece was introduced.
In 1864 a new coin denomination was born. The two cent coin was the first coin to bear the US coin motto In God We Trust. Initially it looked like the 2-cent denomination had been accepted by the public and was about to successfully circulate. It was later decided the reason the public accepted the coin was the shortage of coins experienced during the Civil War.
Three Cent Silver
The Three Cents first appeared in 1851 and ran through 1873, although pattern coins for the denomination were produced in 1849 and 1850. The original purpose of the Three Cents coins was to provide a denomination between the Cent and Half Dime. Again in 1873, only Proof examples were struck. All silver Three Cents were struck at the Philadelphia Mint with the exception of the 1851-O Trime.
Three Cent Nickel
In 1865 the Nickel Three Cents was introduced. These were minted side-by-side with the silver versions until 1873, when the silver type was discontinued. The nickel versions were minted until 1889, when the entire denomination was discontinued.
The Nickel first appeared in 1866. The term refers to one of the metals used to strike the coin. Despite the fact that other coins were made using Nickel the term stuck in reference to the Five Cents piece. The first Nickels were the Shield Nickels minted from 1866 to 1883. In 1883, the Liberty Nickel was introduced. In 1913, the Buffalo Nickel was introduced. The purely American design featured the head of an Indian Chief on the obverse and an American bison on the reverse. A new Nickel appeared in 1938 the Jefferson Nickel and to date is the modern Nickel in circulation.
May 16, 1866 a new act of authorized a new five cent coin, the Shield Nickel. This created a unique situation where two coins of the same value existed simultaneously, the other coin being the Half Dime. The Shield Nickel stayed in circulation until 1883.
In 1883 The U.S. Mint introduced the Liberty Nickel. The circulation lasted until 1913.
In 1913 the Buffalo Nickel replaced the Liberty Head nickel, which had remained in service since 1883. The Buffalo Nickel remained in circulation until 1938.
In 1938 the Buffalo Nickel was replaced with the Jefferson Nickel. The reverse has a view of Jefferson’s home, Monticello. Versions of the Jefferson Nickel are still in circulation.
Half-Dimes and Dimes
The half dime denomination was authorized by Congress in 1792 making it the initial currency in the United States. George Washington on Nov. 6, 1792, said, “There has been a small beginning in the coinage of half dimes, the want of small coins in circulation calling the first attention to them.
The Flowing Hair design was only struck in 1794 and 1795. The Draped Bust, Small Eagle began in 1796 and was used through 1805.
In 1829 the Capped Bust Half Dime was introduced. The Capped Bust design was continued through 1837, then replaced with the Christian Gobrecht Seated Liberty design.
The Seated Liberty designs began in circulation in 1837 and was used through 1873 until the end of the denomination.
The Drape Bust Dime appeared in 1796, the design lasted until 1807.
The Capped Bust Dime began in 1809 and was used until 1837.
In 1837 the Seated Liberty design made its debut and was used until the design ended in 1891.
The Barber Dime appeared from 1892 and was used until 1916.
The Mercury Dime ran from 1916 to 1945.
In 1946, the U.S. memorialized President Franklin Roosevelt with the Roosevelt Dime a design that is in use today.
Bust Half Dime
George Washington first mentioned the 1792 half disme in November 1792, where he noted that some had already been made. Disme is a French word derived from the Latin word meaning tenth.
Flowing Hair Half Dime
The Flowing Hair Half Dime was introduced in 1794 and used for only two years until 1795.
Draped Bust Half Dime
The Draped Bust Half Dime design began its run in 1796 and was used through 1805.
Capped Bust Half Dime
Following a period of years, no Half Dimes were minted from 1806 to 1828, the Capped Bust design was introduced in 1829. This design remained in use through 1837.
Liberty Seated Half Dime
Christian Gobrecht’s Liberty Seated design was introduced in 1837 and was used through 1873.
Draped Bust Dime
The design of the 1796 – 1807 Draped Bust Dime follows the Draped Bust Half Dime. The Draped Bust Dime was minted through 1807 followed by the Capped Bust Dime.
Capped Bust Dime
In 1809 the Capped Bust Dime launched into circulation. The design is similar to that used on the Capped Bust Dollar beginning in 1807. The Capped Bust Dime design was used in circulation through 1837.
Liberty Seated Dime
The Liberty Seated Dime closely resembles the Liberty Seated Half Dime of the same era. This design was used through 1891.
In 1892, the Barber Dime (named for designer Charles E. Barber) was introduced. The Barber Dime design was used through 1916.
In 1916 the Barber Dime design was replaced by A.A. Weinman’s Mercury Dime. The Mercury Dime was used until 1945.
In 1946 The Mercury Dime was replaced with the portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt following his death in 1945. This obverse is still used as our modern Dime to date.
The Twenty-Cent Piece was in use between 1875 and 1878.
The Draped Bust Quarter Dollar was used 1796 through 1807.
The Capped Bust Quarter Dollar was used from 1815 to 1838.
The Seated Liberty Quarter Dollar debuted in 1838 and was in use until 1891.
In 1892, Charles Barber created the design of Liberty wearing a freedman’s cap. This was known as the Barber Quarter Dollar and was used through 1916.
In 1916 The Standing Liberty Quarter Dollar appeared and was used through 1930.
In 1932 the current Washington Quarter was put in circulation. The Washington Quarter became so popular that it replaced the Standing Liberty Quarter even though the Standing Liberty Quarter had not been in place the required 25 year minimum.
The Twenty-Cent Piece was in use between 1875 and 1878. These coins caused a lot of confusion with the public for this reason, Twenty Cent coin was short lived and in use only three years.
Draped Bust Quarter
Draped Bust Quarters began their mintage in 1796. The obverse was used until 1807. The 1796 is a key date in any grade.
Capped Bust Quarter
Following discontinuing the quarter denomination in 1807 the quarter was again produced in 1815, as the Capped Bust Quarter. After 1829 there was a brief two-year period where the Quarter was again discontinued only to resume in 1831 until the Liberty Seated Quarter was introduced in 1838.
Liberty Seated Quarter
1838 brought Gobrecht’s Liberty Seated Quarter Dollar. The Liberty Seated Quarter Dollar was in use until 1891 until being replaced by the Barber Quarter Dollar.
1892 Charles E. Barber created the Barber Quarter Dollar. The Barber Quarter Dollar was used from 1892 through 1916.
Standing Liberty Quarter
The Standing Liberty Quarter Dollar was put in circulation in 1916 and was in use until 1930.
The Washington Quarter Dollar named for the first President George Washington was added to circulation in 1932. The obverse of his bust is in use to date as our modern Quarter Dollar.
1794 brought the first U.S. Mint’s half dollar, the Flowing Hair Half Dollar. The Flowing Hair Half Dollar was made for only two years.
1796 brought the Draped Bust Half Dollar which was produced until 1807.
In 1807 we changed to the Capped Bust Half Dollars which was used until 1839.
Liberty Seated Half Dollars replaced the Capped Bust Half Dollars and were used until 1891.
In 1892 the mint changed the half dollar to the Barber Half Dollars and that half dollar was used from 1892 to 1915.
In 1916 the Liberty Walking Half Dollar appeared and was used through 1947.
Franklin Half Dollars appeared in 1948 and were produced through 1963.
From 1964 to date, the obverse of the half dollar has been the Kennedy Half Dollar.
Flowing Hair Half Dollar
The 1794 – 1795 Flowing Half Dollar utilizes the same design as half dimes and silver dollars of the day.
Draped Bust Half Dollar
In 1796 the U.S. Mint changed the half dollar to the Draped Bust Half Dollar. Between 1798 and 1800 no half dollars were produced but when the resumed in 1801 it continued to be the Draped Bust Half Dollar until 1807.
Capped Bust Half Dollar
In 1807 the Capped Bust Half Dollar was introduced. This design was used until 1839.
Liberty Seated Half Dollar
1839 brought the Liberty Seated Half Dollar and this was in use until 1891.
Barber Half Dollar
In 1892 the half dollar was changed to the Barber Half Dollar designed by Charles E. Barber. This was in use until 1915.
Walking Liberty Half Dollar
In 1916 Adolph A. Weinman designed the Walking Liberty Half Dollar. This design was used until 1947.
Franklin Half Dollar
In 1948 the Chief Engraver of the Philadelphia Mint, John R. Sinnock created the Franklin Half Dollar. This half dollar was used until 1963.
Kennedy Half Dollar
After assassination of President Kennedy in November 1963 Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts designed the obverse with a portrait of Kennedy. The reverse was designed Frank Gasparro creating the modern half dollar, the Kennedy Half Dollar in use to this day.
Silver dollars were in circulation from 1794 until 1935. The very first dollar was the Flowing Hair Dollar minted in 1794 and 1795.
Following the Flowing Hair Dollar was the Draped Bust Dollar in use from 1795 until 1804.
After the dollars dated 1803, no new dollars were minted until 1836.
In 1836 Christian Gobrecht created the Liberty Seated Dollar and this design was used until 1873.
1873 saw the U.S. Mint producing Trade Dollars or in an early reference, Commercial Dollars. These were in use as the dollar until 1885.
Now we come to Morgan Silver Dollars produced from 1878 until 1921 created by George T. Morgan.
1921 began the circulation of the Peace Silver Dollar. The Peace Silver Dollar was in use through 1935.
1971 brought the Eisenhower Dollar or Ike Dollar. This clad Dollar was in use through 1978.
Flowing Hair Dollar
Draped Bust Dollar
The 1795 Draped Bust Dollar represented the original appearance of the design of American coinage. The Draped Bust Dollar was produced until 1804.
Liberty Seated Dollar
In 1836 the Liberty Seated Dollar began in small quantities and in large scale circulation in 1840. The Liberty Seated Dollar was in circulation until 1873.
The motive for the Trade Dollar’s production in 1873 was a need for a coin to compete with the Mexican Dollar overseas. It was intended for export only. Ultimately the law authorizing the Trade Dollar was repealed ending the Trade Dollar in 1885.
Morgan Dollars were minted without interruption from 1878 to 1904, then once again in 1921.
The Peace Silver Dollar was designed by Anthony DeFrancisci to commemorate the end of World War I. The idea came from Farran Zerbe, past President of the ANA from 1908 to 1910. The Peace Silver Dollar was produced from 1921 through 1935.
In 1970, Congress passed legislation for a new One Dollar coin to commemorate death of General Eisenhower and the first manned landing on the moon. The obverse is a bust of Eisenhower and the reverse uses the insignia of the Apollo 11 mission. The Eisenhower Dollar or Ike Clad Dollar was in use from 1971 through 1978.
Susan B. Anthony Dollar
The United States first official gold coins debuted in 1795 two years after the copper coinage. The delay was a result of Mint Officials inability to obtain the proper bond that allowed them to handle precious metals such as gold and silver.
The Draped Bust $2.5 Quarter Eagle debuted in 1796.
The Draped Bust $5 Half Eagle debuted in 1795.
The Draped Bust $10 Eagle debuted in 1795.
The U.S. Mint stopped producing the $10 Eagle in 1804 and didn’t resume until 1838.
As a result of the California gold rush (1848) new gold coins were launched. The $20 Double Eagle in 1850, the G$1 Coin in 1849, the Three Dollar Gold Coin in 1854 and the $4 Gold Coin known as the Stella in 1879.
The gold Eagle denominations followed the same designs as other U.S. coins with the Draped Bust and the Capped Bust and then unique to U.S. Gold Coins the Classic Head, The Liberty, the Indian and the $20 Saint Gaudens.
The Gold Dollar was produced from 1849 through 1889.
$2.5 Draped Quarter Eagle
The Draped Bust $2.5 Quarter Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1796 through 1807.
$2.5 Capped Quarter Eagle
The Capped Bust $2.5 Quarter Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1808 through 1834.
$2.5 Classic Quarter Eagle
The Classic Head $2.5 Quarter Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1834 through 1839.
$2.5 Liberty Quarter Eagle
The Liberty $2.5 Quarter Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1840 through 1907.
$2.5 Indian Quarter Eagle
The Indian $2.5 Quarter Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1908 through 1929.
$3 Three Dollar Gold Coin
The Three Dollar Gold Coin was produced from 1854 through 1889.
$4 Stella Gold Coin
The $4 Stella Gold Coin was produced for two years, 1879 and 1880.
$5 Draped Gold Half Eagle
The Draped Bust $5 Half Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1795 through 1807.
$5 Capped Gold Half Eagle
The Capped Bust $5 Half Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1807 through 1834.
$5 Classic Gold Half Eagle
The Classic Head $5 Half Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1834 through 1838.
$5 Liberty Gold Half Eagle
The Liberty $5 Half Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1839 through 1908.
$5 Indian Gold Half Eagle
The Indian $5 Half Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1908 through 1929.
$10 Draped Bust Gold Eagle
The Draped Bust $10 Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1795 through 1804.
$10 Liberty Head Gold Eagle
The Liberty $10 Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1838 through 1907.
$10 Indian Gold Eagle
The Indian $10 Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1907 through 1933.
$20 Liberty Double Eagle
The Liberty Head $20 Double Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1849 through 1907.
$20 St. Gaudens Double Eagle
The St. Gaudens $20 Double Eagle Gold Coin was produced from 1907 through 1933.
California Fractional Gold